If your perfect weekend getaway from New York still requires a daily Starbucks run, then Southport, Connecticut, is not the getaway for you.
There are no big-brand shops of any kind in Southport, a leafy little seaside village just an hour’s drive from Manhattan. And that’s precisely the charm. Instead, you’ve got an old-fashioned diner with a pressed tin ceiling and sturdy mugs of freshly-brewed coffee. (They make a mean grilled cheese too.) There’s an antiques shop and a lovely little market with some unexpected finds (like organic, cold-pressed olive oil).
But that’s not to say you can’t have a really fine, romantic dinner in Southport. One to even rival the best you’ve had in New York City. The recently-open farm-to-table Artisan at the Delamar Southport, an elegant country hotel, has taken the sleepy village by storm, drawing bon vivants from Harvey Weinstein to Joanne Woodward to dine in its rustic-chic quarters.
The restaurant space is inspired by Scandinavian design — think wide wooden floor boards and a kakelugn (a Swedish tile-faced stove used to warm old farmhouses) — but the food reflects the bounty of New England. Local shellfish are served the only way they should be: raw and ready to slide off their half-shells.
On a recent visit, land and sea met exquisitely in a dish of toothsome scallops and foraged mushrooms with truffle jus. A pumpkin soup was elevated by a drizzle of pomegranate syrup, while La Quercia prosciutto (melt-in-your-mouth and American-made) found its match in whipped ricotta and pistachios. Artisan makes its own fruit sorbets in deep jewel tones — the mango may have been lackluster but the berry flavors sang.
On mild nights the space heaters glow on the back patio for diners feasting beneath lights suspended in mason jars. During warmer weather, there’s an outdoor bar and lounge. The best part is that you don’t have far to go at the end of the night: the Delamar has 44 spacious rooms, many of them suites with their own kitchenettes, and each individually designed. There’s also a spa suite that becomes your own personal space when you book a treatment.
Just remember, this isn’t your grandmother’s country hotel: you may find leather-patterned wallpaper in your bathroom, or an animal skin rug in the sitting room.
Manhattan doesn’t seem very far away at all.